Educational Attainment of Children and Socio-Economical Differences in Contemporary Society

Educational Attainment of Children and Socio-Economical Differences in Contemporary Society

Kannan Subramaniam
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-1847-2.ch003
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Access to education for all has been restricted due to the rigid socio-economic structures prevalent in different parts of the world. Almost every nation promotes equality in education for all in the age group of 6 to 14 years. Many international agencies and non-governmental organizations are working to improve the access to education in the developing and under-developed nations. Some of the nations have improved the child enrollment ratio, and some of the nations are lagging in spite of well-framed policies, legislative measures, and the involvement of non-governmental organizations. In this context, the chapter examines the influence of social structure on child educational attainment and its interaction from a social capital perspective. Finally, the study will provide suggestions and recommendations to the existing policies to overcome the socio-economic differences in child education from a global perspective.
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Social Capital And Education

A large number of scientific papers emphasise, in particular, the significance of the relationship between social capital and the educational achievements of an individual (Acar, 2011; Byun, 2012; Rogosic & Baranovic, 2016). Further, scholars seeking to understand why some students and schools perform better than others have suggested that social capital might be part of the explanation. Social capital in today’s terms is argued to be an intangible resource that emerges—or fails to emerge—from social relations and social structure (Plagens, 2011). Further, in the context of education, social capital in the forms of parental expectations, obligations, and social networks that exist within the family, school, and community are important for student success. These variations in academic success can be attributed to parents' expectations and obligations for educating their children; to the network and connections between families whom the school serves; to the disciplinary and academic climate at school; and to the cultural norms and values that promote student efforts. The concept of social capital is a useful theoretical construct for explaining the disparities in students' educational performance among different nations. In the 1980s James Coleman developed the concept of social capital to conceptualize social patterns and processes that contribute to the ethnic disparities of student achievement. He argued that the educational expectation, norms, and obligations that exist within a family or a community are important social capital that can influence the level of parental involvement and investment, which in turn affect academic success.

At the family level, parents' cultural capital and financial capital become available to the child only if the social connection between the child and the parents is sufficiently strong. Youths from single-parent families or with larger numbers of siblings are more likely to drop out of high school because of the eroded social capital associated with the non-traditional family structure. As new structures of the household in modern society become more prevalent, many linkages and activities that provided social capital for the next generation are no longer present, and their absence may be detrimental to children's learning. At the institutional level, disciplinary climate and academic norms established by the school community and the mutual trust between home and school are major forms of social capital. These forms of social capital are found to contribute to student learning outcomes in East Asian countries such as Singapore, Korea, and Hong Kong (Ho, 2000). They have been shown to have a significant impact, not only on creating a learning and caring school climate, but also on improving the quality of schooling and reducing inequality of learning outcomes between social-class groups.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Working-Class Culture: Carries the classification of all work in the mainstream of art and learning as “bourgeois.”

Cultural Capital: Refers to the collection of symbolic elements such as skills, tastes, posture, clothing, mannerisms, material belongings, credentials, etc. that one acquires through being part of a particular social class.

Educational Attainment: Refers to the level of education that an individual has completed. This is distinct from the level of schooling that an individual is attending.

Swots: Are upper bands of the school and were identified as pending all their working and never having a laugh or getting into trouble with teachers.

Social Class: Refers to a group of individuals who occupy a similar position in the economic system of production.

Rems: Are referred as members of the conspicuous male anti-school sub-culture.

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